‘Textbook racist’: Report about Trump using n-word shouldn’t be a surprise, critics say

Critics are holding Donald Trump to the fire after a former producer of “The Apprentice” revealed on Thursday that the Republican presidential candidate used the n-word during his time on the NBC show.

According to a Slate article written by Bill Pruit, who worked with Trump on the competition reality show, Trump used the racist slur when referring to Black contestant Kwame Jackson, who was a season 1 finalist alongside Bill Rancic, who is white. 

Pruitt recalled Trump saying, “…would America buy a n—winning?” while contemplating who should win the 2004 competition series, which resulted in a $250,000 cash prize and employment with the Trump Organization. 

The revelation about Trump’s use of the n-word stands to threaten the presidential candidate’s efforts to claw away Black voters from President Joe Biden’s successful 2020 coalition. Over the past few months, Trump sought to draw Black voters by selling signature gold sneakers, organizing a photo-op with Black students at a Chick-fil-A in Atlanta, and hosting a rally in the Bronx, New York.

Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright, who says Trump’s outreach to Black voters amounts to “pandering,” told theGrio that reported use of the n-word should come as no surprise. 

Trump, he said, has a “very decorated past when it comes to cuddling and playing footsie with racism.” Seawright said the former president’s history of racist rhetoric has particularly targeted Black men, including calling for the death penalty against the Central Park Five and pushing false claims that Barack Obama, America’s first Black president, was not born in the United States, and therefore not qualified for the office.

“That word coming from him speaks for itself about what he projects when it comes to our community,” said Seawright. “If you add that to the catalog of racist things he’s said and done as it relates to us, then you can only imagine that he is who we think he is.”

Donald Trump is endorsed by rappers Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow Speaks at a campaign event on May 23, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/GC Images)

The Biden-Harris reelection campaign similarly slammed the latest revelation about Trump, calling it a noticeable “pattern” that he would “denigrate a successful Black man.”

“Donald Trump is exactly who Black voters know him to be: a textbook racist who disrespects and attacks the Black community every chance he gets, and the most ignorant man to ever run for president,” said Jasmine Harris, the campaign’s Black media director. “It’s why Black voters kicked him out of the White House in 2020, and it’s why they’ll make him a loser a second time this November.”

Pruitt’s claim particularly incensed Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung, who had a public, expletive-laced exchange with Black political commentator Bakari Sellers. 

“Prove it, bitch,” said Cheung on the social media platform, X, in reply to Sellers, who wrote, “Trump said n—r.”

“You can’t, because it’s a fake and b——-t story your dumb ass is peddling because Biden is hemorrhaging support from Black Americans,” the Trump spokesperson wrote. 

Seawright dismissed Cheung as a “paper tiger and keyboard thug.” He said Cheung’s war of words with Sellers “tells you everything you need to know about Trump, Trumpism, and the foot soldiers that come along with that.”

He maintained that Black voters must understand that “you can’t separate the policy from the person or the politics.” Seawright added, “We have to settle ourselves on the reality that these people are more extreme than they ever been before. And I don’t know if we’ve seen the most extreme version of Trump or his supporters just yet.”

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Jamarr Brown, executive director of Color of Change PAC, the campaign arm of the civil rights organization of the same name, called the report about Trump “appalling.”

“He has used ‘The Apprentice’ as a platform to demonstrate financial, racial, and political privilege,” Brown told theGrio. “What is done in the dark always comes to the light — even him using the n-word on set to a qualified contestant. This is the same behavior we see in his third campaign for president,” said Brown, who warned that Trump and his allies “plan to dismantle” so-called “anti-white racism,” which he described as a threat to efforts to address “true disparities in our system that demand federal protections for Black people.”

“This report makes it even more clear that Donald Trump does not believe he should be held accountable —  from his reality TV set in Trump Tower to the White House,” said Brown. 

“Black voters must organize and mobilize in this critical presidential election to defeat Donald Trump so this behavior will not be demonstrated in the highest office in the land again.”

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